Terrell Owens says he meant no REAL harm when he called Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England Patriots "cheaters" on Tuesday ... saying he was just joking around.
Just a short time after T.O. posted video where he told his friend, Sam Cassell, that he sounded like the "cheater" Pats ... we spotted him at the Century City Mall in L.A. and asked him to explain.
That's when Owens backed off ... big time ... and even dished out a few compliments for Tom and Bill.
In fact, T.O. says the whole conversation stemmed from a friendly debate he was having with Cassell about who's the G.O.A.T. -- Tom Brady or Joe Montana?
Bottom line ... Owens says he didn't mean it.
So, water under the bridge?